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What we, not to explore the secrets ask

95 Of his eternal empire, but the more To magnify his works, the more we know, And the great light of day, yet wants to run Much of his race though steep; suspense in heaven, Held by thy voice, thy potent voice, he hears, And longer will delay to hear thee tell His generation, and the rising birth Of nature from the unapparent deep :Or if the star of evening and the moon Haste to thy audience, night with her will bring 105 Silence, and sleep lift'ning to thee will watch; Or we can bid his absence, till thy fong End, and dismiss thee ere the morning shine.

Thus Adam his illustrious guest befought: And thus the godlike angel answer'd mild.

This also thy request with caution ask'd Obtain : though to recount almighty works What words or tongue of Seraph can suffice, Or heart of man suffice to comprehend ? Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve 115 To glorify the Maker, and infer Thee also happier, shall not be withheld Thy hearing ; such commiffion from above I have receiv'd, to answer thy defire Of knowledge within bounds ; beyond abstain 120 To ask, nor let thine own inventions hope Things not reveal'd, which th' invisible King, Only omniscient, hath suppress’d in night, To none communicable in earth or heaven : Enough is left besides to search and know.

123 But knowledge is as food, and needs no less Her temp’rance over appetite, to know In measure what the mind may well contain ; Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns:

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Wisdom to folly', as nourishment to wind.

130 Know then, that after Lucifer from heaven (So call him, brighter once amidst the host Of angels, than that star the stars among) Fell with his flaming legions through the deep Into his place, and the great Son return'd 135 Victorious with his faints, the omnipotent Eternal Father from his throne beheld Their multitude, and to his Son thus fpake.

At least our envious foe hath fail'd, who thought All like himself rebellious, by whose aid

140 This inaccessible high strength, the seat Of Deity fupreme, us difpoffefs'd, He trusted to have feiz'd, and into fraud Drew many, whom their place here knows no more : Yet far the greater part-have kept, I fee, 145 Their station; Heaven yet populous retains Number sufficient to possess her realms Though wide, and this high temple to frequent With ministeries due and folemn rites. But left his heart exalt him in the harm

150 Already done, to have dispeopled heaven, My damage fondly deem'd, I can repair That detriment, if such it be, to lose Self-lost; and in a moment will create Another world, out of one man a race

155 Of men innumerable, there to dwell, Not here ; till by degrees of merit rais'd, They open to themfelves at length the way Up hither, under long obedience try'd ; And earth be chang’d to heaven, and heaven to earth, One kingdom, joy and union without end. 161 Meanwhile inhabit lax, ye powers of heaven; And thou my Word, begotten Son, by thee This I perform; speak thou, and be it done :

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My overshadowing Spi'rit and might with thee 165
I Tend along; ride forth, and bid the deep
Within appointed bounds be heaven and earth,
Boundless the deep, because I Am who fill
Infinitude, nor vacuous the space.
Though I uncircumfcrib'd myself retire, 170
And put not forth my goodness, which is free
To act or not, neceffity and chance
Approach not me, and what I will is fate.

So spake th’ Almighty, and to what he spake
His Word, the Filial Godhead, gave effect. 175
Immediate are the acts of God, more swift
Than time or motion ; but to human ears
Cannot without process of speech be told,
So told as earthly notion can receive,
Great triumph and rejoicing was in heaven, 180
When such was heard declar'd th' Almighty's will:
Glory they sung to the Most High, good will
To future men, and in their dwellings peace !
Glory to him, whose just avenging ire
Had driv'n out th' ungodly from his fight, 185
And th' habitations of the just; to him
Glory and praise, whose wisdom had ordain'd
Good out of evil to create, instead
Of fpi'rits malign a better race to bring
Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse 190
His good to worlds and ages infinite ! ·

So fang the Hierarchies. Mean while the Son
On his grext expedition now appear’d,
Girt with omnipotence, with radiance crown'd
Of majesty divine ; fapience and love

Immense, and all his father in him shone.
About his chariot numberlèfs were pour'd
Cherub and Seraph, Potentates and Thrones,
And virtues, winged spi'rits, and chariots wing'd



From th' armoury of God; where stand of old
Myriads between two brazen mountains lodge'd
Against a solemn day, harness’d at hand,
Celestial equipage ; and now came forth
Spontaneous, for within them fpirit liv'd,
Attendant on their Lord: heaven open'd wide

Her ever-during gates, harmonious found
On golden 'hinges moving, to let forth
The King of Glory in his powerful Word
And Spirit coming to create new worlds.
On heavenly ground they stood, and from the fhore
They view'd the vast immeasurable abyss,
Outrageous as a fea, dark, wasteful, wild,
Up from the bottom turn'd by furieus winds,
And surging waves, as mountains, to assault

214 Heaven's height, and with the centre mix the pole.

Silence, ye troubled waves! and thou deep, peace ! Said then th' emnific Word, your difcord end: Nor stay'd; but on the wings of Cherubim Uplifted, in paternal glory rode Far into Chaos, and the world unborn ; For Chaos heard his voice: him all his train Follow'd in bright proceflion, to behold Creation, and the wonders of his might. Then stay'd the fervid wheels, and in his hand He took the golden compasses, prepar'd

225 In God's eternal store, to circumscribe This universe, and all created things : One foot he center'd, and the other turn'd Round thro' the vast profundity obscure, And faid, Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds, 230 This be thy just circumference, O world.

Thus God the heaven created, thus the earth, Matter unform'd and void : darkness profound Cover'd th' abyfs: but on the watry calm



His brooding wings the Spi'rit of God outspread, 235
And vital virtue' infus'd, and vital warmth
Throughout the fluid mass; but downward purge'd
The black, tartareous, cold, infernal dregs,
Adverse to life: then founded, then conglob'd
Like things to like, the rest to several place 246
Disparted, and between spun out the air,
And earth felf-balanc'd on her centre hung.

Let there be light, faid God; and forth with light
Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure,
Sprung from the deep, and from her native east 245
To journey through the airy gloom began,
Spher'd in a radiant cloud; for yet the fun
Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle
Sojourn’d the while. God saw the light was good;
And light from darkness by the hemisphere 250
Divided : light the day, and darknefs night
He nam'd. Thus was the first day ev'n and morn :
Nor palt uncelebrated, nor unsung
By the celestial quires, when orient light.
Exhaling first from darkness they beheld;
Birth-day of heaven and earth ; with joy and thout
The hollow universal orb they fillid,
And touch'd their golden harps, and hymning prais’d
God and his works ; Creator him they sung,
Both when first ev’ning was, and when firit morn.
Again, God said, Let there be firmament

261 Amid the waters, and let it divide The waters from the waters: and God made The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure, Transparent, elemental air, diffus'd

365 In circuit to the uttermost convex Of this great round : partition firm and fure, The waters underneath from those above Dividing : for as earth, fo he the world


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